The 13th annual DC Asian Pacific American (APA) Film Festival begins this Thursday, October 4. Since we've moved to DC, I have wanted to attend at least one screening. Finally I've cleared my schedule to see one of the films. The screenings are held at different venues throughout Washington, DC and runs through Sunday, October 7.
Usually when I hear about APA film festivals or big Asian-American events, they're in New York City or on the West Coast. I know there's a bigger population of Asians in those areas, but DC is the nation's capital. We have to represent, you know!
Here's some more info about the theme for this year's DC APA Film Festival:
The fact is that we’re Americans first. Maybe we’re American-Asians and our parents were Asian-Americans. Our parents pushed us to achieve. We did. Their journeys were difficult. Our journeys have their own challenges. They crossed oceans without money, family, language, and jobs to give us all of those things. Better things. We honor their sacrifice while we express our individuality, aspirations, and new adversities. As you watch these films, remember that we, as a community, have a responsibility to America. Why? Because, we know our Asian American community is America.
Like anyone straddling two cultures, being Asian-American is complicated. Still, we can empathize and relate to each other's journey to find a balance between these two different, often contradictory, cultures. Even if you're not Asian-American, this struggle is universal.
The festival opens with Mr. Cao Goes to Washington, winner of the DC APA Film Festival Best Documentary Award. The film follows House of Representative Joseph Cao's bid for re-election for Louisiana's 2nd Congressional district, which includes New Orleans. As someone who grew up in Louisiana, In 2008 I was fascinated to learn that Cao,a Republician, won the seat in the first place. He became the first ever Vietnamese-American elected to Congress. You have to read how he was elected. Joseph Cao been called the "accidental congressman" (WaPo story).
Mr. Cao Goes to Washington is directed by S. Leo Chiang, who also directed The Village of Versailles, another documentary about the Vietnamese people of New Orleans. The Village of Versailles is an excellent film (here's my review). I'm glad that S. Leo Chiang is giving a voice to the Louisiana's Vietnamese community.
Growing up, my parents were never political. My dad became a naturalized citizen, but never voted. We were taught to never rock the boat. Never make the white folks mad or suspicious of us, so to speak. So to learn that Joseph Cao won his House seat is a pretty big deal.
If you're interested in seeing Mr. Cao Goes to Washington or any of the other films at DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival, make sure to buy your tickets! I wish I could see all the films on the schedule, but at least I'm able to see one. Maybe next year I can see two!
Right now you can head to DC APA's Facebook page for a chance to win 2 tickets to any screening to this year's festival.
And if you haven't registered to vote yet, please do. Then go vote!
No compensation was received for this post. The DC APA Film Festival have no idea who I am. I have already bought my ticket. Woohoo! Images are from DC APA Film Festival